Veteran Italian journalist Sandro Ruotolo was elected last night to the Italian Senate replacing the former Senator for the Naples constituency Franco Ortolani who had died in office. Sandro Ruotolo contested the election on his own ticket “Napoli con Ruotolo” but was backed by the centre-left parties Partito Democratico and the Movimento Democrazia e Autonomia.

In his first public statement as a Senator of the Italian Republic Sandro Ruotolo said: “I dedicate my victory to those who fight to throw light on the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia.” Sandro Ruotolo covered the campaign for truth and justice for Daphne on his website and participated in the protest campaigns in Malta in 2019.

His first film on the story “Daphne Must Die” was completed after Sandro Ruotolo spoke at the September 2019 Valletta vigil for Truth and Justice. Following his participation in the Malta vigil he launched a campaign calling on Malta’s government to accept the call for a public and independent inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The campaign collected over 42,000 signatures.

Sandro Ruotolo also campaigned with Italian journalism unions to allow Maltese independent journalists to sign up for union representation.

He was one of the journalists trapped inside the Ambassadors’ Room in the Auberge de Castille in November 2019 where he was covering Joseph Muscat’s press conference at 3am that night after a marathon session of Cabinet. His report for “Malta’s long night: a government under siege” is linked here.

Less than 10% of Neapolotans eligible to vote participated in yesterday’s by-election. 48.4% of them voted for Sandro Ruotolo who beat candidates for the right-wing coalition Lega-Fratelli d’Italia-Forza Italia, far-left Potere al Popolo, populist Movimento 5 Stelle and civil society list Rinascimento Partenopeo.

Before Sandro Ruotolo, the Naples Senate seat belonged to the populist 5-star movement.

Sandro Ruotolo is known as the ‘Big Moustache’ of Italian TV journalism. He had a long career at Rai and worked with Michele Santoro on classic shows Samarcanda, Il Rosso e il Nero, Tempo reale, Moby Dick, Sciuscià and Annozero.

He is best known for his anti-mafia investigations.